Exploiting Human Behavior

It’s hard for people to swallow the truth about how their diet effects them. It’s especially hard for people to grasp the reality about meat being harmful on every level; from our personal health, to the animals we mistreat and kill, to the impact it has on the environment

Smoking, on the other hand, has already become way more taboo and illegal in most public environments. So, these days it’s easy for people to understand how smoking is just plain stupid. Unfortunately, meat is even worse on every level.

The Perfect Analogy

Humans eat meat for most of the same reasons people smoke. And because in this day and time it is so easy to understand how bad smoking is, I think it’s a great analogy to understanding why people eat meat in light of all the harm it does.

I quit smoking over a decade ago. It was hard at first and anyone who’s ever been there knows exactly what I mean. So, the other day I was sharing with an omnivorous friend, who used to smoke also, why eating meat is so much like smoking. I realized, it’s a perfect analogy.

I started smoking for the same reasons that virtually all of us do. Growing up I would see family doing it, friends, people on TV and so on. And, while it may be insidiously subtle, the marketing, I’m sure, had an influence as well. Smoking just seemed omnipresent. Cigarettes are readily available behind almost every cash register. At work, at home, at friends houses, every corner I’d turn there would be a smoker. The packaging, the billboards, the ads, it was everywhere! Then one day a “friend” gave me a cigarette, so now, a little peer pressure was all it took for me to light up.

Guess what, animal products are no different. In fact, animal products are even more pervasive.

Desensitization

I hated smoking at first. It made me cough, it royally reeked, and tasted horrible. But, before I could even realize it, my body became desensitized to the experience. Almost immediately I was addicted.

Like virtually all of us, I was too young to recall the first time I consumed any animal products. But, here again we are desensitized to something that is totally foul. After becoming vegan, just being around animal products is unbearable. I don’t even want to touch it much less have it anywhere near my mouth.

Burn to Consume

Eating meat obviously is not natural. I mean, think about it, just like smoking, you have to burn it before you consume it. The government recently banned the smoking industry from adding any flavors to cigarettes. Imagine eating meat without smoking it or adding anything to it. Most of a vegan diet on the other hand if innately safe and delicious raw.

It’s all in Your Mind

We’ve all heard of how the smoking industry incorporates addictive properties to enhance the physiological addiction. However, I was way more psychologically hooked when I tried to quit.

Smoking gave me something to do when hanging out, when waiting places, when driving, after eating, during work breaks, etc… . Smoking became a reward for almost every situation.

Psychologically I had to overcome every scenario I had trained myself to smoke in. I had to make getting through that moment in the most natural way the new reward.

Wake Up Call

Other smokers had no problem ensuring I continued. Ever out of cigarettes? Just bum one! And nobody was saying anything negative about it. In fact, we all had an arsenal of false rewards we told ourselves; like needing it to relax. Even people that wanted to quit conjured up reasons to relapse. No one was capable of getting real with me about it. That is, not until the day I actually asked someone who was able to keep it real what they thought.

When I was 19 I was passing through Asheville, North Carolina on my way to California. I stopped in to see my all time most powerful mentor, Dr. Myles Joyce. As I was saying goodbye, for some reason I asked him “What do you think of smoking?” and, without hesitation, he said “I think it is stupid!”

His comment struck me hard and stuck with me since. The power of this truth most vividly surfaced after trying to quick for a couple of years in my early thirties. I was a casual smoker, only a few a day, maybe a pack a week. I think this occasional use made me more sensitive and aware of its negative effects. Finally one day I decided to apply all I knew about behavior modification toward quitting. Cognitively I realized smoking is not just stupid, it’s entirely stupid. There is absolutely nothing good that comes out of it.

Even if it’s Deadly

How is it that something so disgusting, deadly, and stupid is so pervasive throughout our world? How can so many people fall victim to becoming a smoker to the point of dying from it and enabling loved ones to die from it. I know of several family members that have died from smoking related causes. My father lives with sever emphysema. To make matters worse, he smokes in his house making it intolerable for him to have family visit with him, inside anyways. Furthermore, there’s the cost of the cigarettes and the cost of medical treatment.

To understand how we let smoking become such a part of our culture we need to understand human behavior and the power of big industry. I’ve already spoke on some of the psychology behind it; peer pressure, marketing, availability, physical/mental addiction, etc… One thing worth adding is that the physiological addiction is said to wear off within 48 hours. Yet, the psychological addiction is so much more powerful that it can last for weeks, months, or even years for some after quitting. And businesses take advantage of human behavior to make a profit.

Exploiting Learned Behavior

When we’re young and naive we tend to trust too much of the world. It’s hard to disconnect ourselves from all the lies in our environment. Businesses do everything they can to surround us and become a part of our world in every way possible. We think the police and government is here to protect us. And, that all this stuff around us is therefore safe, otherwise someone would stop them. You probably already know, big industry is in the government persuading laws and maintaining subsidies.

With all the money the smoking industry has, they can effect laws, fight lawsuits, market in the most vastly powerful and deceptive ways, and advance at streamlining as much as possible. They are indifferent to the effects of it, they only care to make a profit. So, it’s ultimately the consumers, what we buy, that determines where they invest.

Founded on the Dollar, not Integrity

So, how could smoking, something entirely bad, become so pervasively sought after? For settlers in the early 1600’s, North America was the “ultimate land of opportunity” for many reasons; like gold, oil, and lots of new land. But tobacco was our first major commodity.

John Rolfe was one of the original settlers of the “New World” in the 1600’s. He brought South American tobacco seeds to the Chesapeake Bay area.

John’s first harvest was worth more than a million dollars in today’s money. In just a couple of years tobacco crops where in gardens all over Jamestown. Life here went from a “living hell” to becoming America’s “first boomtown”. 30 Years later  over 20,000 people settled in Virginia. America was founded on tobacco.

For over a century tobacco remained our biggest export. It wasn’t until almost 4 centuries later that the use of tobacco has become significantly taboo. As of 2015, it is still only publicly banned in 28 states.

If people knew how bad smoking is before they started, would they ever start? As a child growing up in a world where the bad wasn’t talked about, you’re left to only assume and associate it with being good. There are still too many people who smoke, but at least nowadays it’s easier for a child to know the truth.

We’re Out of Time

The thing about meat is we don’t have decades to waste in litigation with deep pockets. In just one generation of industrialized meat production, animal agriculture has already destroyed too much of the ocean, killed billions upon billions of ocean species, and has destroyed over a hundred million acres of rain forests. Meanwhile the industry is currently using and degrading over 30 percent of the land and is expanding to keep up with unprecedented, exponential population growth.

For the sake of everything that is real about this world we must change. Our planet could thrive off of diverse crops. A vegan diet is capable of changing it all.

Which is going to be harder, convincing people to quit smoking? Or convincing people to cease use of all animal products? We know so much now about the effects of animal agriculture on our health. We know that animals do not deserve to die and even go extinct because of us.  It’s so saddening knowing the truth and watching others not care, and knowing that we’ve most likely gone too far. But at least I didn’t live this way. At least I can die with integrity knowing that my life did not depend on killing tens of thousands of animals to sustain. I know that my lifestyle enabled more starving people across the world to have food and water. And that my impact on the environment fostered a healthier world on every level.

When Nobody Cares, You Must!

When I realized I was lied to by the smoking industry, my family, my friends, and even strangers I finally quit. I realized that none of these people cared about me, my health or the health of others. The industry only wanted to make money. My family and friends only wanted to live in denial despite its deadly grip on them and influence on me. The food industry is no different nor are you as a meat eater any different.

Like the smoking industry, big money is of course behind the meat industry. Big money drags on litigation, delays laws needed for change, deters activism, stifles science, and the inhibits the truth in media.

The Power of One

While the reality of the situation is very dim, you can still make a difference. More vegan options and educational opportunities are available than ever before. We can demand through our buying power even more vegan options, inspire more restaurateurs and grocery stores to become vegan, and help others around us understand the truth.

Live now with respect for all life.

Veganism Relativity

Vegan by Season aims to inspire living in the most universally healthy and sustainable way.

Thoughts for Food

Starting with You

What you consume impacts the body you are building and extends into the world you are creating. Your specific diet literally has the power to destroy you and the world we live in. Alternatively, what you eat can empower you and nurture a healthy ecosystem.

Ultimate health is only achieved with utmost integrity. This starts cognitively, with how we think. Healthy thoughts foster healthy actions. When maintaining integrity we are forced to be consistent with how we think, live, eat, exercise, sleep, etc… When we live with integrity toward a healthy lifestyle we live healthy in everything we do and succeed toward ultimate health.

In the everyday hustle and bustle of life it’s easy to acquiesce into a fast food and/or media driven diet. But, convenient foods may not be the smartest to put into your body. And, the media most likely isn’t going to give you the whole story or even the truth. So, it’s important to know what to look for. Once you’re aware and have healthy habits, a vegan routine can be just as convenient and in every way profoundly more rewarding.

As a healthy vegan you will feel better, become more confident, and in turn have more potential for success in everything you do. You most likely lose most if not all your unwanted weight, get sick less, and may reduce doctor visits down to none! In turn you’ll save money, live better and longer! And healthier you doesn’t stop with you! When you are living healthy you create a healthier world on every level.

Social Influence

The healthier you are the healthier others may now become around you. Without  even trying you will invariably influence friends, family, and even strangers to live healthier. Directly and/or indirectly you may not convince everyone, at least entirely, to become vegan. And some people may just need more time. Nonetheless, you will have a very positive and powerful impact on all the lives around you.

As a vegan, your non-vegan family and friends will notice a difference. Grocery shopping, going out to eat, at parties, etc… you’re going to be doing things very differently. Even when friends and/or family have a look in your refrigerator. The vegan lifestyle makes non-vegans think! This doesn’t have to be uncomfortable because you are now living smarter and with integrity.

In time, it also becomes evident that many non-vegans will start making more vegan choices. Just passively being the vegan you are inspires most logical people to be more conscientious about what they consume. Eventually they’re very likely to act on this.

Feeding the World

Inspiring others to eat healthier is one thing. We have the potential to feed everyone around the globe when we take livestock out of the equation. Livestock is a gigantic waste of land, resources, and grains. Diverse vegan crops are vastly more effective, productive, and sustainable.

The hundreds of thousands of livestock bread for slaughtering are fed grains we could be eating. It is estimated that 50% of grain production goes to livestock worldwide, in the US it’s 70%.

Saving the World

Collectively the healthier we live the healthier the ecosystem and entire world will be. Our diet gravely impacts everything on the planet. Not just you, not just other people, but all forms of life and beyond are affected.

Habitat destruction is considered the main reason for species extinction worldwide. In just one generation we’ve destroyed over half the rain forest and have created hundreds of dead zones in oceans around the world. As a result we are destroying species thousands of times faster than they can naturally be replaced. The main culprit for loss of habitat is agriculture, what we eat!

It makes sense that the food industry would be one of the largest industries in the world. The food industry could even eclipse all other industries as we evolve further off the grid. So big money is made in food. The more efficient the food industry is the more money they make; even if it’s at the expense of our long term health and detrimental to the well being of the entire world. The food industry has become so efficient that left unchanged they will most likely succeed in destroying all of the rain forest and the majority of life’s diversity in the sea, air, and land within two generations or less.

Summarizing

In short, the effect your diet has is circular between you and the world. In other words; a healthier you creates a healthier world and a healthier world creates a healthier you. We can only actualize our healthiest potential within a healthy world.

The effect you have on the world (your footprint) is cohesively connected to your lifestyle, most notably your diet. So, here we focus on diet because it is the most powerful way to affect global change; helping people live healthier and minimizing our impact on the planet. The vegan way enables us to live in harmony with the environment. Each of us makes a difference, together we change the world.

FOA.org Livestock a major threat to environment

SmithsonianMag.com Is the Livestock Industry Destroying the Planet?

Science.Time.com The Triple Whopper Environmental Impact of Global Meat Production

EarthSave.org Food Choices and the Planet

How Did We Go This Far?

A Not So Big and Invincible World

Growing up in the 70’s, before the internet, the world seemed to be incomprehensibly enormous. Furthermore, into my young adulthood it seemed as though the world was invincible to our impact. This idea of thinking the world is invincible is unfortunately a common idea.

With the advent of the internet, in the 90’s, I was able to learn and experience the world in awesome and unprecedented ways. Now in my 40’s and influenced heavily by travel, experience, and education the world has become progressively smaller over the last decade. And, I now understand how unfortunately vulnerable the world is to our impact on it.

When I was wasteful and indiscriminately eating animals I was ignorant to what I was doing to my body, animals, our world, and eventually my son’s future. When I finally became conscientious about my diet I realized I needed to change.

Knowledge Lag

For decades I was acting on the sensation of my diet and activities, like a kid, “if it taste good I want it!” I was not behaving on the premise of knowledge and logic, “If I eat this it will harm my body over time and the world!” There is a lag in the distance of the effect. After all, I don’t become obese right away or get sick right away. Furthermore, it takes time to research these things and really we are the experiment. It can take decades to realize the true effects of what we consume. Then that has to pervade through the media and reverse the mindset of our culture. This lag in knowledge enabled me to be ignorant about what I consumed and deepened my footprint on this planet.

Our collective understanding of the world has evolved over thousands of years. Considering how this occurs on a general population, it is not much different than how my individual understanding of the world has evolved throughout my lifetime. Realizing how my knowledge has evolved has helped me understand how cultures hold on to their religions, societies cling to their governments, how people depend on their diets, and how the world in general has reached it’s current disposition.

When we discover something we enjoy, like tobacco, and mix that in with capitalism corporations find ways to produce and market it as efficiently and powerful as they can. We do this with everything possible; like religion, food, pharmaceuticals, transportation, cell phones, etc…  The excitement and availability becomes widespread long before we understand the reality of it.

Tainted Consumer Demand

All of these consumable accomplishments are driven by capitalism and tainted consumer demand. And all of this happens before we know anything about the reality of it’s effect on us and our world. It may take decades, centuries, or even millennia before we do anything about the negative effects of something we adapt into our culture. Maybe it’s like the stages of loss where we collectively go through denial, bargaining, anger, and depression before we ever reach acceptance. Whatever the case, capitalism absolutely is the only winner of our knowledge lag and tainted consumer demand.

Small Winners, Big Losers

Each of us play a major role in these experiments and they effect us all. But, the toll doesn’t stop with humans, the entire world and all species of life are effected as well.

A small percent of humans reap magnificent rewards through this process. They are the driving force that propels these industries. The system enables capitalist to lobby for the perpetuation of their gain. The most disturbing part is, this continues long after we know it’s effects on humans and our environment.

Consider the tobacco industry for example. The US was practically founded on tobacco. At the time, this was such a precious commodity, so much so that governments implemented severe punishments, including execution,  to those taking tobacco outside of their country.

For centuries we admired smoking. It seemed like everyone smoked, even doctors in hospitals! Tobacco ads were targeted toward children, smoking was part of the script in most movies, peer pressure was hot on smoking. The smoking industry controlled studies and the media working hard to debunk anything negative about it. It wasn’t until the knowledge lag gap was finally closed through multiple lawsuits and tons of scientific evidence that it became taboo and practically de-legalized in most public situations. But, the fight against tobacco took decades.

Collectively, most knew smoking was bad though long before it became taboo. And as individuals we knew how completely stupid it was long before we quit. But the weapons of influence employed by the industry made it so addicting. They extended their influence through every source possible: making it addictive both physically and mentally.

Broken System

How could it be that an industry so vast, like the food and drug industries, could be so heartless that they would continue to deceive and push their products into market when they’re destroying and killing millions? This could only be because our system is gravely broken and corrupt.

Becoming vegan threatens the food industry. The food industry is one of the largest industries in the world. In a system that is so insidiously broken and corrupt, our entire world has become victim to our consuming without thinking. The knowledge lag is perpetuated and enforced by the media which is driven by big industry. As a result, the overwhelming majority of people on this planet eat without really knowing what they’re eating and/or it’s effects on the planet and the future of all species.

Nobody Likes to Lose

To make matters worse, people do not like to be wrong or lose anything. And, eating is such a rewarding, daily activity. It’s understandably hard for people to imagine going without something that is so sensational. They’ve developed a taste for their diet. We psychologically crave whatever we feed our brains and bodies. We learn to gravitate toward that, not away from it. We trained our bodies that this is what we eat. So, we condition ourselves with every bite. Changing that would be a lose of what you’re used to.

It seems so much easier to go with the flow. Especially in the hustle and bustle of life. Losing what you may have grown up eating, grilling out the same way you’re accustomed, eating whatever is available at parties, eating what others want, eating exactly what’s on the menu, eating what your significant other or parents cook, that’s all a lot to lose!  Then to further compound this epidemic issue, we are constantly bombarded with ads, myths, the illusion of convenience through industrialized availability, and social pressures.

Research Revelations

 

Again, the advent of the internet has enabled us to spread knowledge and narrow the gap of knowledge lag. There are a lot of amazing documentaries out there as well. Only, we’ve already dug so deep, killed so many, and destroyed so much. We do not have anymore time to waste as we continue to lose loved ones, hurt ourselves, keep harming animals, and destroy our precious planet. Collectively we need to wake up and turn this boat around.

Come Back to Earth!

You eat to give your body nutrition. It doesn’t have to be overstimulating. You will physiologically adapt fast to appreciating the basic taste of a healthy diet. You will feel great knowing this is all you needed to fuel yourself. Then you will be energized to use your body to enjoy life more powerfully.

Remember, it’s about what is nutritious, not what “used to be” delicious. An apple, pear, peach, banana, grapefruit, orange, watermelon, etc… is delicious.